The First Week

Violet is one week old today! The time has gone by really quickly, and I think we're beginning to get used to having this beautiful girl around. So far, she is a really mellow baby and spends most of her time either sleeping or eating, although she recently added "pooping" to her list of activities... and that is a very good thing.

I was beginning to get worried about the lack of dirty diapers since we had come home, so we made an extra trip to see the pediatrician on Friday just to make sure there wasn't a problem. I was instructed on all the different methods of inspiration I should try over the next few days. It turns out all I needed to do was remove the seal on a brand new bottle of infant suppositories. Within mere moments, Violet decided not to let herself be subjected to them and started filling diapers on her own with great gusto.

Violet on Thursday - 4 days old

Once we figured out the proper number of blankets required to get Violet to stay asleep in her bassinet (the number is five in case you're curious), she has been a really good sleeper. The past three nights, she has only woken up twice to eat during the night. Unfortunately, she doesn't feel like going back to sleep when she wakes up around 3:30 AM, so usually we are up for two hours or so while I attempt to figure out how to lull her back to sleep.

Eddie has done pretty well with his baby sister so far. He has been extra sensitive, and I imagine it is because he gets in trouble a lot more often now that we're trying to protect Violet from thrown toys and accidental (and intentional) violence from her brother. He loves holding her on his lap and will tell us "I just want her" often. He loves kissing her and comforting her (even when she doesn't need it) by patting her and saying, "It's okay, Biolet. It's okay." He also cracks up when she cries because he thinks it is a funny noise. Keeping Eddie entertained has largely been Dave's responsibility, so we might be in for some trouble when he is at work this week and Violet is commanding most of my attention.

Violet on Sunday - 1 week old

Amongst the various visits to the pediatrician, we also had an interesting evening on Wednesday. Lucky for us, my mom drove up on Wednesday night, arriving about a half hour after I first noticed that one of my legs was swollen up. With Dave staying home to put Eddie to bed, she saved the day by going with me to the E.R. and watching over Violet while I had an ultrasound to look for blood clots in my leg. Fortunately, there were none to be found, and after a couple of hours we were able to come home and get some sleep. The swelling has since gone down, but we still don't know why only one leg swelled up. Even though it was a stressful situation, it would've been exponentially worse if not for my mom. So thanks for being here to help me not go crazy and get some much needed rest, Mom!


And Then There Were Four

Violet and I have now been home from the hospital for a full day, so it's high time for an update. As Dave mentioned in his post about the delivery, I went with the epidural this time. As someone who has now given birth both ways, I can safely say that the epidural is the only way to go and I would never go back. That said, there are some adverse side effects that came from having the epidural that I didn't have to deal with last time. The biggest one is a back ache that is the result of laying on my back during pushing. I'm hoping that with the help of a heat pad and some rest, that will soon go away.

Besides the back ache, I am actually feeling really good. Of course, I'm running on very little sleep (I estimate 12 hours of sleep since I got up on Sunday morning). Mostly this lack of sleep stems from what I think is Violet's current defining characteristic: hungry. Not only is she ravenous, but she is also easily frustrated. This has led to some difficulties with feeding, since she decides to be hungry, then is so frantic for sustenance that she can't latch on, which fills her with inconsolable rage. We are hoping that this problem will solve itself as my milk comes in.

Violet isn't the only one who is ravenous. After Eddie was born, I remember being hungry for the next couple of days, but I don't remember it being anything like this. I've been so hungry that I horked down two days worth of mediocre hospital food with the comments "this is so good" and "I wish I had more of that." Hopefully this newfound appetite calms down so that I don't regain all the weight I just lost.

We are all adjusting to Violet's arrival in our own ways. Eddie has been very good with her (with the exception of one incident that I don't care to remember) and always wants to hold her and give her kisses. Everyone seems to think that she looks just like her big brother, though I'm not sure I entirely agree. They definitely have the same frowny face when they're about to burst into tears, though.


Say Hello to Violet Adelaide

What a day. We arrived at the hospital at 9:00 am this morning to be induced. The roughest part came when Kristen passed out between having her water broken and the three attempts to stick the IV. But after going au natural with Eddie, she decided early on she wanted an epidural. Without going into the gory details, let's just she found this very different birthing experience to be luxurious, and was in good enough spirits that she was cracking jokes while she pushed.

Violet Adelaide Barton arrived at 2:53 pm, 20 inches long and weighing in at a robust 8 lbs 11 oz (she already has thigh rolls and a double chin). But the first thing everyone sees is the head full of dark, curly hair.

The scalp massage was definitely Violet's favorite part of her first bath.

Get this girl some styling product, stat.

There, that's better.

Violet extended an olive branch to her big brother by getting him a Doc Hudson car (it just came right out with the placenta, fully wrapped in Batman paper). Eddie enjoyed holding his baby sister, kissing her on the forehead, and stroking her diminutive facial features. We were even able to convince him to call her Violet instead of Morsel before the night was over.

We feel incredibly blessed to have this little girl, completely healthy and beautiful. Thank you for all the kind words and support.


Flower Power

In the previous post, Kristen sent a subtle jab my direction: "not that the nursery decor is complete, but that's not my fault." You see, a few months ago when we learned Morsel was a girl, Kristen determined we should decorate a wall in the nursery with vinyl flowers. She had a very particular idea of what she wanted, so she tasked me with creating a custom design.

My modus operandi when I'm not properly inspired is to procrastinate until the last possible minute. Thus I sat on this flower project for months and months, aggravating Kristen to no end. (Conversely, after we learned Eddie was a boy, I found some retro superhero signage for his room within weeks.)

Once I finally got around to designing the flowers a few weeks ago, it only took me about an hour (further aggravating Kristen). A coworker cut the vinyl for me on Thursday, and we put it up in the nursery today.

Now Morsel will surely come before the weekend is out. Of course this may have less to do with vinyl flowers and more to do with Kristen being scheduled to be induced on Sunday.


The Final Countdown

As of today, I am officially more pregnant than I have ever been. We are now only 10 days from my due date. I had an appointment with my doctor this morning and found out that all my middle-of-the-night painful contractions have done nothing. I am still only dilated to 1 cm and the doctor remarked that Morsel "is not a little baby." We decided to wait one more week and if nothing is happening, then we will schedule an induction. When I was pregnant with Eddie, I don't remember being quite this miserable at the end. I have decided that is because I had prepared myself mentally to go past my due date with him, and going into labor was quite a surprise. This time, I have foolishly prepared myself for an early baby and have been disappointed day after day.

So over the past couple of weeks as I have anxiously awaited Morsel's arrival, I have had a lot of time to finish up every single tiny project I can think of. Here are some of the things I have been doing that have helped keep me sane:

1. Finding lavender crib sheets
Sure, we have white crib sheets. Sure, Morsel will be sleeping in a bassinet for at least the first few weeks. But for some reason, I felt that purple crib sheets were completely necessary in completing the nursery decor (not that the nursery decor is complete, but that's not my fault). Every time I entered a store that sells baby stuff, I always had to look to see if they had purple sheets. None of them did. You can get yellow or green or blue or pink or white (and even brown for crying out loud). Apparently purple is not a popular color. Last weekend, we finally took a trip over to Babies R Us with the specific purpose of buying purple sheets. After leaving the store, I told Dave "now we can have a baby." I was hoping that would inspire Morsel... but apparently it did not work.

2. Cleaning the entire house
The bad part about cleaning the entire house in preparation for the baby is that the house was clean... and the baby didn't come. So now I need to do it all over again. I even got so desperate that I cleaned the laundry room. So now I'll start the circuit again and if I make it back to the laundry room before Morsel is born, that might sever the last thread of my sanity.

3. Packing bags for the hospital
Not only did I pack my own bag, but I also packed Morsel's bag. I honestly do not remember what stuff we need to take for the baby, and really, since the hospital is approximately 2 miles from our house, I'm sure all this preparation is not entirely necessary. But, it has given me something to do. The only problem is that I packed a couple of options for Morsel's coming home outfit and they've sat in the bag so long that I'm tempted to change them out for something else. This is probably because of the next thing I have been doing...

4. Looking through all the baby stuff
I get bored and I stand in the nursery closet and look through all the baby clothes. I figure out which hair bows will go with which outfits. I organize and reorganize the bins on the shelf that hold the socks and tights and burp cloths and swaddle blankets. I unfold the blankets and look at them, then fold them up again. Hopefully if nothing else, this exercise will ensure that I know where everything is in there. But probably not.

5. Complaining about being pregnant
I'll be the first one to admit it: I am miserable. Waiting for Morsel is driving me completely crazy. That, in addition to the hormones, means that I'll have an occasional good day where I will get a lot done and many other not-so-good days where I won't even bother to get dressed and will let Eddie watch TV all day while I eat a large number of cookies.


While We Wait

Everyday we wake up and wonder, will this be the day we have the baby? In one corner we have Kristen, overanalyzing every contraction and fantasizing about all the sleep she will get in the hospital once she no longer has heartburn. Then there's me in the other corner, worried about what to blog about in the meantime. Something that doesn't require much effort on my part… hmm… I've got it! Embedded YouTube clip! The creator of this ingenius little video introduces it thusly, "When I was a kid, there are two things I wanted badly and never got... A real dog and a Kenner AT-AT Walker."


When Eddie Was Born

With Morsel set to arrive in the next few weeks (or days if you ask Kristen), I can't help but look back on those challenging first few days with Eddie. I realize others have had much more difficult experiences than ours, which I'm certainly not trying to compete with.

We had been through the classes. We had fielded all manner of contradictory advice from friends and family. We went to the hospital and Kristen squeezed a beautiful baby boy out of her body. We named him Edward James. I got to sleep on a circa World War I army cot. Then, as if without warning, we were being escorted out of the hospital with an extra person that we were expected to take care of.

University Hospital's luxurious accommodations for husbands.

We arrived home in the early evening. As bedtime descended upon us, we laid Eddie in his bassinet, turned out the lights, and hoped for the best. He was quiet for a few minutes before the crying started. We put a teddy bear next to him that played soothing sounds of the womb. We took turns rocking him. Kristen fed him. But every time we tiptoed away from a quiet, swaddled baby, he turned into an upset, crying baby within mere minutes.

At 2 am we finally remembered the unopened package of binkies in the closet. A binky seemed to help with everything but the actual sleeping. Kristen and I continued to take shifts throughout the night. Around 5 am I took Eddie downstairs and laid on the couch where he finally fell asleep on my chest.

Eddie woke me up at 7, and Kristen took him to attempt another feeding. After groggily staggering into the kitchen, I washed all the dishes and polished the countertops because cleaning felt like a Hawaiian vacation.

Kristen catching up on some much needed ZZZs.

As the day progressed, Eddie started to look a little yellow. We took him in to the pediatrician who recommended testing him for jaundice. Unfortunately, they couldn't run the tests at their office for insurance purposes. So we drove up the road to Jordan Valley Hospital and spent the afternoon filling out paper work, waiting around, and watching our baby get blood squeezed from his foot.

When we got home I laid on the couch and conked out for an hour or so. I was awoken by the hospital calling to confirm that Eddie would need to spend some time under the lights. While we waited for the equipment to be delivered, I offered to go pick up some dinner. As I drove to Kneader's, the cold hard reality of parenthood came crashing down on my exhausted body. I found myself wishing I could just keep on driving until I arrived at some magical land where there were delicious sandwiches aplenty, and no crying babies.

Unable to locate such a utopia, I returned home as the light bed was being delivered. We reviewed dire warnings such as keeping the baby's eyes covered at all times or he will go blind (a slight paraphrase), then nervously attempted to get the little cloth mask to stay on Eddie's head. Thankfully, Kristen's mom had arrived by this point. She was instrumental in keeping this angry, squirming child under the lights over the next day and a half while allowing Kristen and I to get some rest.

Edward James Barton, 5 days old.

Yes, those first few days were a little rough, but before we knew it, we found our groove. Which meant people had already started asking when we were having another one.


Five Things...

... A Hugely Pregnant Person Should Never Have To Do

5. Teach nursery
Eddie's nursery teacher has my pity because she is pregnant, too. When she was sick the other week, she called and asked Dave and I to substitute. I don't mind helping out and actually enjoy seeing the way Eddie acts in nursery... because it's hilarious. However, after Eddie's class was combined with another nursery (for a total of 13 children), I concluded that once you reach the third trimester, you should be exempt from helping in nursery. Not only did the constant bending over make me have contractions, but the tiny, stuffy classroom made me swell up and turn bright red. By the time church was over, Dave and I were both overstimulated.

4. Sleep on the floor
Apparently Eddie has reached the age where we need to more closely monitor what he watches on TV. We recently found ourselves watching the end of Home Alone (featuring the tarantula), shortly followed by the part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that includes the rats. That night, just as Dave and I settled into bed, Eddie woke up screaming. He woke up five times in the next hour, eventually convincing me that he would do better if I just laid down next to him on the floor for a while so he'd stop getting scared. I tried to get him thinking about something more pleasant, so we talked about Curious George and various other things before attempting to go back to sleep. The next couple of hours were reminiscent of our stay at the Price Super 8, except Eddie talked constantly about Curious George. Eventually, I gave up and told him I was going to bed. As soon as I moved, I realized why I never should lay on the floor in the first place. Pain... that's why.

3. Run
I don't run, as a general rule. The exceptions to this rule always involve Eddie doing something he should not. Unfortunately, Eddie is now faster than me, so if he runs away, I really cannot effectively chase him. During a recent trip to the library, while Dave was checking things out and Eddie was playing with the toys in the library entrance, I went out to the car to get the diaper bag. As I started coming back from the car, I see Eddie charging across the sidewalk toward the parking lot into the path of an oncoming car. As any mother would do, I yelled at him to stop and started running toward him. Luckily the driver of the car noticed the ruckus (who wouldn't notice a giant whale of a woman running across the parking lot yelling frantically?) and stopped before running Eddie over. Once we got back inside, I determined that running is not a good idea at this stage of pregnancy because it causes a lot of pain in virtually every part of my body. Of course, I would do it again if the situation repeated itself. But I don't think I will be going to the library without Ed's leash any time soon.

2. Sit on a metal folding chair
Thanks to Eddie's Sunday morning tantrum over changing his clothes a couple of weeks ago, we were only 5 minutes early to church instead of the usual 15. This meant we could not find a soft seat and ended up on the metal chairs in the overflow. We try to avoid this situation anyway because metal chairs are noisy and it is more complicated to contain a kid there than it is in a pew. But this week, I realized another good reason to never sit on a metal folding chair while pregnant. Even after Dave removed his sweater and folded it up for me to use as a cushion, I still could not stay in the chair for more than 15 minutes at a time because of the immense pain it caused my pelvis. This led me to the conclusion that the church should have reserved pregnant lady seating just like Babies R Us has pregnant lady parking. This isn't to encourage preggos to be late to church... merely to encourage preggos to come to church and stay longer than 10 minutes.

1. Wear clothes that cover the belly
I imagine that the majority of you non-pregnant people will disagree with this one. But frankly, it is so much more comfortable to just let the ever-expanding belly fly free. In a perfect world, it would be socially acceptable for pregnant ladies to wear belly shirts. Or maybe the better solution would be for someone to invent maternity clothes that feel like you're wearing nothing at all.

And, without further ado, please enjoy the video Dave has put together to show you exactly how hugely pregnant I am. It starts at 13 weeks and the last photo is from 37 weeks (which was last Saturday).


Best Quotes of 2010, Pt. 2


I had only one requirement for the show—that Sir Paul play his theme from James Bond's answer to blaxploitation films. It was the second to last song of the main set, and the performance did not disappoint, complete with pyrotechnics that surely decimated every eyebrow in the first ten rows. Ten Things... We Noticed at the Paul McCartney Concert // 7.14.10

For the unenlightened, Harker Stew is an ill-advised conglomeration, an unnatural hodge-podge of every type of stew, homemade or otherwise, that a Harker might think to contribute, mixed into one luscious pot of beefy goodness. The Harker Reunion // 7.18.10

Even after all those public service announcements, we let Smokey the Bear down, and that's really all the punishment a young boy needs. Only You Can Cause Forest Fires // 7.28.10


The last time I took a swig of Sunny D it burned my throat as it went down, and I finally understood why my dad always used to call it "battery acid." You Are What You Eat // 8.17.10

As any student of cinematic redneck miltary clichés would know, heavy-handed treehuggery must be unflinchingly fought with tried and true "shoot first, shoot some more later, all while holding your breath" tactics. One-Dimensional Movie Villains: Second Class // 8.19.10

The boys are getting restless. If we wait much longer someone is going to start carving a sharp point on the end of a stick. A Night in the Life of a Cub Committee Chairman // 8.25.10


Over the last 8 months I have applied for dozens of positions, been a finalist for a few of them, and even briefly considered moving to St. Louis. But my search has finally come to an end. I'm going to take my talents to Stampin' Up and join their catalog team. The Job Hunt // 9.07.10

Of course, there is a small risk of some residual weirdness between siblings when they discover they were named after star-crossed vampire lovers. Name That Baby // 9.13.10

The year was 1988. Guns N' Roses and Rick Astley ruled the airwaves. George Bush Sr. was on his way to the White House. The Wonder Years premiered on ABC, popularizing voice-over narration that whimsically put things in context. The Great Sports Awakening of '88 // 9.18.10


I am probably jinxing Morsel to be bald for the first two years of her life, but I feel it's worth the risk. Feeling Crafty // 10.04.10

In working for a bigger company, I am sharing a public bathroom for the first time since I had a student job working in Old Main. Let's just say I have some personal issues with this, particularly when I hear a symphony of sounds emanating from the stall next to me. New Job-servations // 10.08.10

I borrowed the gold velour track suit from a coworker to complete my ensemble. It was almost scary how well it fit me. Tricks and Treats // 10.31.10


When the Héréns breed of cows in the Swiss canton of Valais are released from their barns each spring, they lock blunted horns "without provocation" to establish the hierarchy within the herd. And the Swiss spectators that congregate on the mountainside are kind enough to bring along some cans of spray paint. Cows are very poor record-keepers after all. More Cowbell // 11.10.10

In the most lopsided fight of the century, the meat absolutely destroys the overmatched hoagie roll. But the real victor is the happy patron—stuffed silly, but with enough leftovers to get you through next week. Sandwiches Unlimited // 11.19.10

Thanks to my amazing foresight, the cover coordinates with the canopy (which, coincidentally, coordinates with the wipe case). Feeling Crafty, Pt. 2 // 11.29.10


Something can't be "world famous" if you've never heard of it. (i.e. the world famous Pillow Talk Motel in Wellington, UT). Ten Things... I Have Learned Through a Life of Consumerism // 12.02.10

Kristen grumbled something under her breath about Eddie falling in [the water] while Daddy was busy taking pictures. "But what a memorable picture it would be!" I said, dodging an icy look. O Rainy Night // 12.12.10

When [Kristen's] potato sacks are in the wash, she is forced to wear my warmup pants instead (which she has dubbed "jazz pants" because of the shiny material they are made out of). Are we the only couple that gives each others' pants nicknames? Last Minute Gift Ideas // 12.21.10